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Top 3 Ways to Fail at Medical Marketing

Top 3 Ways to Fail at Medical Marketing | Digital Marketing |
In today’s world of healthcare, doctors and medical practices are constantly battling market pressures and competition to keep their doors open. It’s a competitive industry, though few outsiders understand the full extent.

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Mobile and Social Marketing for Medical Practices

Mobile and Social Marketing for Medical Practices | Digital Marketing |

One out of two U.S. adults have smartphones, yet every adult requires medical care. The rise in connectivity muddles up marketing for doctor’s offices, hospitals, and specialist care facilities, as patients are relying more on mobile information and services. Mobile marketing for medical practices is split between apps, browser ads, and building up an online presence, but where to begin with so many options?

Mobile Dot-Coms

A smartphone-friendly website doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of a typical browser site. Instead, site developers should focus more on streamlined simplicity and navigation. Mobile users “on the go” search out contact numbers, hours, locations, and other practical info directly from their phones through mobile browsers. Most users would prefer not to wade through cluttered designs, photos, and pages of information to find what they want. Here are a few designs to focus on:

Speed: The best mobile sites load quickly on every platform. Users are more likely to back out and click on a competitor’s page if it takes too long.Navigation: Pinching, scrolling, zooming, and digging for links is time consuming. Smartphone users prefer a simple toolbar that will lead them directly to plain, easy to read information. This includes large, clickable links without popups or other Web obstacles in the way.Legibility: Keep it simple, neat, and clean. This means more than upping font sizes; a legible site is easy to read and follow. The flow is important.Content: Direct, easy to find content on mobile browsers is short. Maybe one image or graphic, but other than that only incorporate a paragraph or two of information. Have an “expand” link for longer articles.Contact Info: Push your contact information to the bottom of the page (phone, address, hours, etc.). With the Google Maps widget, users can click directly on the address and a link will open. “Click to Call” is another important feature to utilize.Social Connections: Make it easy for people to share, like, and follow your mobile site.

Social Exposure

Speaking of social media…almost half of all Facebook and Twitter traffic originates from mobile users. If you’re Tweeting a new blog you’ve published, for instance, one out of two smartphone users that click it will be linked to a (hopefully) mobile-friendly website. Mobile marketing for medical practices extends into the social realm more than most doctors would believe. Patients are always looking for interesting information about the medical field — why not from you? Keep your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other platforms up and running to increase exposure and your online herd.

Another overlooked feature of social media are check-ins. Active Web-socialites love sharing where they are and who they are with; encourage check-ins via Facebook and Foursquare by offering specials, promotions, and other competitions. Any incentive helps, and checking in is a way for your patients to advertise for you.


Stay current on trends. Email is a common platform for sending patients reminders about schedule appointments and updates about your practice, but a personalized text can go a long way.


One of the most powerful tools when mobile marketing for medical practices is, well, marketing. Social media and patient connections only go so far and mainly help retain existing patients and generate referrals. To get your name and practice out there, look into mobile advertising through apps, websites, and other platforms. There’s no need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on an app; instead, find an online ad agency that specializes in app and browser marketing.

Most of these systems are considered pay-per-click, meaning the advertiser only pays for the service once a smartphone user converts, or clicks, on the ad. These campaigns are highly efficient because mobile advertising is capable of targeting groups within a certain demographic or region. This location-based advertising is controllable by both the advertiser and the ad managers. If your practice specializes in pain management, for example, you can target groups that tend to visit your practice.

The basic idea behind mobile marketing is exposure and connectivity. You want to get your practice out there for exposure’s sake, while making it easier for potential patients to communicate back to you. Mobile marketing for medical practices is worth the investment, especially if your practice is facing some serious competition.


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Surgery Videos as an Online Medical Marketing Technique

Surgery Videos as an Online Medical Marketing Technique | Digital Marketing |

Medical marketing services have been undergoing some major changes lately. As social media claims an increasingly larger percentage of marketing spend, healthcare providers are seeking ways to expand their presence in this important new sector. Social media marketing is based on providing content that is appealing enough to attract the attention of website visitors, and valuable enough that these users will want to share it with others.


Taking that goal as the basis for their new ventures into medical internet advertising, healthcare providers are beginning to post videos of medical procedures online.

Surgery Videos as an Online Medical Marketing Technique

A video heart-surgery tutorial

Memorial Health Care System in Chattanooga, Tennessee has posted a free webcast on their site, which allows visitors virtual access to the operating room. This webcast contained two compelling elements: An edited, narrated video of a patient’s open-heart surgery, and an opportunity for live chat with the lead surgeon who performed the operation. The practice of medicine has traditionally held a certain mystique, where no one but the service providers themselves really have the full story on what’s happening. Opening the doors and giving a full view and discussion of such a major procedure results in physician practice marketing content that’s terrifically appealing. The thousands of viewers who signed up for this webcast and told all their friends about it are a great demonstration of this appeal.


Live streaming surgery and the hospital tweeting team

In Orlando, Florida, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children took virtual access to their operating room one step further as they provided 46 live updates (via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) of a dramatic surgical procedure in which a 3-year-old received a Goretex graft on her heart. The hospital’s social media team included commentary on these images, which were released about once every 10 minutes.


Future possibilities

According to the Chattanooga Times, Memorial Health Care plans to live stream a surgical procedure in the near future. While live footage of surgeries is commonly used for physician training, it’s a new idea to use this video material to engage interested website visitors. Furthermore, surgeons are beginning to use Google Glass as a non-intrusive method of capturing and sharing live video of procedures, and it is only a matter of time before these videos make the leap from physician training material to hospital marketing content.


Multi-target marketing

When a hospital posts video of surgical procedures, they are creating marketing material with an eye to more than just the pool of prospective patients. They are also demonstrating to physicians that the institution has a high level of professional confidence and technological know-how. This can affect the choice that these physicians make when deciding where to refer patients.


Sharing surgery videos as a form of online medical marketing is probably still in its earliest days. It’s likely that, in the future, hospitals and doctors will use such transparency to build credibility and establish a reputation for doing excellent work. Prospective patients and their families are likely to share video of similar operations with each other before undergoing those procedures themselves, and the possibilities for marketing are almost unlimited.

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How Medical Products are Researched Online by Hospital Administrators- CadenSee

How Medical Products are Researched Online by Hospital Administrators- CadenSee | Digital Marketing |
Google offers insights into the ways in which hospital administrators use the internet to research and procure medical devices and equipment.
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How Google Hummingbird Affects Medical Marketing

How Google Hummingbird Affects Medical Marketing | Digital Marketing |

Google Hummingbird affects medical marketing in a huge way, and if you’ve been using underhanded ‘black-hat’ techniques or dealing with a disreputable company, you may been in for a rude awakening.

When you search for something on Google, results vary based on location, individual, time of day, and social site interaction – multiple factors are taken into account in the search results displayed by Google’s ever-changing algorithms.


We’ve talked about social cues and semantic search before, but Google’s latest algorithm change, known as Hummingbird due to ‘fast and precise’ results, is set to take what we already know about SEO and amplify it.  Long gone are the days of trying to trick search engines into establishing a higher rank- with the launch of Hummingbird, those tricks will fail rapidly.


So what exactly do you need to know about Hummingbird and its impact on your SEO efforts? As stated in thisForbes article: ‘The key to making the right decisions about SEO is to understand where Google is going. Google’s goal is that when someone creates a new search, what Google shows that person is exactly what the person wants or needs. ‘ The algorithm update focuses on two main points:


As more people speak into their phones to search (ala Siri on the iPhone), Google had to adapt their formulas to allow for more complex, natural searches.  Think of the difference between searching for “fast food” when typing into the search engine, versus “where can I find a quick, good meal in Houston?”Google is relying much more heavily on the social cues the individual user sends to them. For example, if you’re signed into your Google+ account and have previously liked a certain restaurant, links to their website will more reliably show up in your search results.  Likewise, those individuals you interact with the most on social networks will start impacting your results- the thought process here is that if you trust them, then you’ll likely agree with the things they like.  When your friend ‘likes’ that cute little bistro in your town, the next time you search for a bistro, their ‘recommendation’ will come up reliably. 

Sound like a complex, nearly impossible thing to manage?  It should, because it’s designed that way.  Google has been fighting spammy marketers and black-hat SEO hacks for years, and this latest iteration of their algorithm is designed to virtually eliminate the possibility of scamming search results.


As you develop your marketing & SEO plan, it’s crucial to keep this personalization of searches in mind.  A solid long-tail keyword strategy is absolutely necessary, and one of your primary objectives should be relationship marketing that establishing rapport & loyalty, as well as engagement.  Those patients you have who love what you’ve done for them?  Urge them to leave you a review on Google+, Yelp, or anywhere else.  New patients?  Make it a priority for them to follow & interact with you on social media.


Think you’ll be able to avoid adapting to changes in SEO due to a strong Adwords campaign? Think again. You likely already know that your PPC rates are affected by the relevancy of the website being advertised, i.e. your Google Quality Score; without adapting your SEO & marketing strategy to include social interaction and natural keyword search terms, you’ll be priced out of the game as your Quality Score plummets.

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Examples of Using Social Media for Medical Marketing

Examples of Using Social Media for Medical Marketing | Digital Marketing |

Most practices understand that in today’s world incorporating medical social media into their healthcare marketing plan is a must. The challenging part is not identifying this demand, it’s figuring out how practices can tap into medical social media to reach business goals.

Take a look at the list of possible applications below to determine how best the social media world can work for your practice.


1.      Twitter as a play by play for procedures

It may sound a little risky but social media channels are now being used to broadcast operating rooms and live procedures as a way to create excitement and raise public awareness. The buzz can work to attract new patients as well as recruit medical personnel.


2.      Enhanced training for medical personnel

Using medical social media channels to complement training efforts has proven extremely effective. It gives trainees a forum to ask questions, quickly receive answers and request additional training if needed. Beyond that, it provides a unique medical marketing opportunity if practices share training sessions on sites such as YouTube or Slide Share.


3.      Garner more mainstream media attention

Recent reports suggest 70% of journalists use social networks to assist their reporting. As part of a medical marketing strategy, practices can use their blogs, forums etc. to spread the word on success stories or unique operations and treatments.


 4.      Keep the public up-to-date in times of crisis

When emergencies happen, healthcare providers play an integral role. Providers can use social media to give real-time updates and communicate with the masses.


5.      Steer patients away from misinformation

The amount of medical information available on the web while incredible, can in some cases lead patients to inaccurate material regarding their health. However, by providing accurate and timely information concerning symptoms, diseases, medications and procedures, physician websites can ensure their patients aren’t misinformed.

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Medical Marketing on Pinterest: The Safest Place to Start Health Care Social Media

Medical Marketing on Pinterest: The Safest Place to Start Health Care Social Media | Digital Marketing |


Health care companies are not getting involved in Social Media because they’re scared. If you look at the hoops medical marketing directors have to jump through with their legal department, and then combine that with the pressures all marketers face, such as justifying marketing spend, it’s no wonder health care companies have chosen to stay on the sidelines.



Many businesses are finding that it’s possible to engage with patients, customers, and other stakeholders without running into legal problems. If you’re still feeling hesitant, that’s okay. Take one step at a time. Not ready for all of the conversational aspects of Facebook? Try a less conversational network. Here’s where Pinterest comes in.



According to Simply Measured, 69 of the world’s top 100 brands are on Pinterest. Pinterest is driving more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or YouTube.



You can also gain positive brand exposure when people see pins about your company, the people who work there, and the products and services that are changing lives.


You can teach patients about a new product you are launching so they understand how it works and how it benefits them.


Give patients a look inside your company and what makes your organization great. This is an opportunity for you to humanize your company. After all, your team probably got involved in health care because at least some part of you wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.


Now is your chance to show consumers the side of your company that feels their emotions, shares their desire to find the cure, wants to effectively treat a medical condition, dreams of ending suffering, and will do whatever it takes to save lives.


Driving referral traffic to a website from Pinterest is incredibly valuable for medical marketing. Why? This is a golden opportunity for health care marketers to ride the social wave without getting tangled in the legal complication. You get the benefits of social media: brand exposure and awareness, positive corporate PR, patient education, exposure for new product launches, and referral traffic to your health care website without the risks that are inherent in the more conversational social networks.



Pinterest is primarily a visual network. People look at images, share images, pin images, like images, and on occasion, maybe comment on an image. But Pinterest is no Facebook. Facebook is the water cooler where people really start talking about things. When people start talking, legal and regulatory departments get nervous. Breathe a sigh of relief. People don’t usually get too involved in conversations on Pinterest. Many people have probably never commented on a pin in their whole Pinterest history.



If you’re worried about people talking, start on Pinterest. It’s not a huge drain on resources because it doesn’t require you to monitor and respond to conversations all day. While I would recommend always having a plan in place before starting any social media campaign, I don’t think a detailed response matrix for responding to various situations is necessary like it is on Facebook.

Posting pictures of patient education materials and other images you already have visible to the public in your existing marketing mediums isn’t likely to elicit lots of comments. This means you aren’t likely to deal with complaints, negative reviews, potential adverse event reports, or off-label discussions. People just don’t use Pinterest in that way.



It doesn’t require as many resources for content creation. You don’t need to post 3-5 carefully crafted messages a day and then be ready to respond to them. As the Marketing Communications Manager, you don’t have to worry about a flood of content you have to oversee for legal risks. Pinterest doesn’t move as fast as the other social networks. You don’t necessarily have to post every day. The work flow is manageable.



You just have to provide your agency with the visual materials you already have and they organize and repurpose the imagery for Pinterest. It’s that easy.

Yes, you, Director of Marketing for a healthcare company. I know you already have Pinterest content, even if you don’t think you do. Chances are, you already have images on your website that can be pinned. I would go as far as to venture that if you really surveyed existing marketing material, you would find a lot of images that can be repurposed for Pinterest. Did you know that you can pin video, too? Pinterest is a great way to get more exposure for your medical marketing videos, which can be a great way to showcase your technology and help customers to understand the benefits of your product in an easy-to-understand format.


Still need some Pinspiration? Here’s a list of 40 ideas for Pinterest that can help you get started.



I know this is a lot to process, but if you think about it, this is an exciting, low-risk way to enter social media. With the help of an agency, all you have to do is provide some of your existing visual material, and they will do the rest. You don’t have to go through pages and pages of written material with the legal team. You just need a willingness to be open-minded about social media. Once you decide your ready, trust your agency as the social media experts and your legal department as the legal experts. If everybody does their job, you’ll be just fine.


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Rethinking Medical Marketing: Top Tips for Meeting Web Demand

Rethinking Medical Marketing: Top Tips for Meeting Web Demand | Digital Marketing |
Rethinking medical marketing requires practices to engage with evolving trends in the healthcare industry.
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